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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

How do bricks and brickmaking methods discovered among the ruins of ancient Babylon support the Bible record?

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed in ancient Babylon enormous numbers of baked bricks that were used to build the city. According to archaeologist Robert Koldewey, such bricks were produced in furnaces located “outside the town, where the clay is good and fuel . . . is abundant.”

Ancient records reveal that Babylonian officials also used their furnaces for a more sinister purpose. Paul-Alain Beaulieu, professor of Assyriology at the University of Toronto, says: “Several Babylonian sources . . . chronicle the burning of individuals upon royal command for crimes of rebellion and sacrilege.” A text from the days of King Nebuchadnezzar issues the following sentence: “Destroy them, burn them, roast them, . . . to the cook’s oven . . . make their smoke billow, bring about their fiery end with the fierce flame.”

This reminds Bible readers of the events recorded in Daniel chapter 3. According to that historical record, King Nebuchadnezzar erected a huge image made of gold on the plain of Dura​—outside the city of Babylon. When three young Hebrew men named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the image, Nebuchadnezzar became enraged, ordered that a furnace be heated “seven times hotter than usual,” and had the three men “thrown into the burning fiery furnace.” A powerful angel saved them from certain death.​—Dan. 3:1-6, 19-28.

© The Trustees of the British Museum. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Source

A baked brick with Nebuchadnezzar’s name stamped on it

The Babylonian bricks themselves also support the Bible record. Among them are many that include stamped inscriptions praising the king. One such inscription reads: “Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon . . . The palace, the dwelling place of my Majesty I built . . . May my posterity bear rule in it for ever.” This inscription closely resembles the statement recorded at Daniel 4:30, in which Nebuchadnezzar boasted: “Is this not Babylon the Great that I myself have built for the royal house by my own strength and might and for the glory of my majesty?”